Remember, when Mike Tyson would try to beat down his opponents, with a scowl, in the ring, at the tail end of his career? He also would use ‘extreme’ words to intimidate. He once said, that he would eat Lennox Lewis’s kids alive, before the fight. He also bit Hollyfield’s ear off. All this and more happened, only and only, when he was on his way down.
Reminds you of a man clutching to a straw to prevent drowning?
He never did anything of this sort at his peak. Why? Because he had the confidence to reduce the competition to pulp, with his hands and technique. So there was no need to berate an opponent, or try that psychological crap. The margin was so huge, between him and the rest of the field, to even think about messing up with that BS.
This is standard MO of any human being, who is staring at the writing on the wall, irrespective of which endeavor he is involved in. Just look around your own miserable lives, and you will be able to come up with many examples. How about within your own dysfuntional family?
You have, of course, heard of stories of children acting out, after the newly-born starts to take away the attention of his parents. Same idea.
Do you see a pattern in the following?
Roger Federer was asked what advice he would offer a player getting ready to face him.
“Don’t even try, pal,” the top-ranked Swiss star said. “You’re probably not going to win.”
“Once I get on a roll it’s hard to stop me. It’s always been like this.”
That black outfit at the US Open, begging for attention?
$800 hair cut.
I am speaking from personal experience. The older goats here, need extra ‘attention’ and action, to psychologically feel at par, with the hotter and younger ones.
Human nature will never change. I have seen this act, played out so many times, by athletes, actors, politicians, singers, you name it, that it is almost predictable, long before it manifests itself, if you are paying attention.
It’s an irrefutable fact, that Federer has slipped this year, at many levels. The numbers may not tell the whole story, but at least they do point to a certain direction. And it’s not north.
Federer may have passed his best years, as a tennis player. It’s not a shame. After all, he is 26 plus, and has had the best four and half years, in the history of the sport.
It’s best to acknowledge it with grace, instead of fighting it, and cheapen the process, by making out of character statements, both on and off the court. In fact, you can make the whole situation work for you, instead of against you.
By admitting the inevitable, you are able to puncture the balloon of high expectations, both from the fans, as well as yourself. That takes off a lot of pressure.
Any super performance, after that, is received with high enthusiasm, whereas any dip is more acceptable.
Conversely, super performance is considered routine, and any dip receives worldwide ridicule and ‘decline’ theories, further damaging, the already downward bound confidence.
What’s currently happening is, that Federer still has the old magic and shot making ability, but gradually that skill will start to lose the consistency, over 11 months. So he will continue to stun his opponents and fans, with incredible play, but will have more off days, than he has had in the last four years.
Losses to Volandri and Gonzalez are glaring examples of that. Others, to Canas, Nadal, Djokovic and Nalbandian are just of a lesser degree. But they belong to the same species. This animal is only going to multiply now. The seed has already been planted this year.
What does it mean, to
us you mortals? Cherish each dazzling display from him. It also is a good time to sell that cardboard box, you call home, and that crappy car, and go stand in line to buy a ticket, to see a freaking match in person. You will be glad you did.